Where do coyotes live?                   "Coyote". <http://www.flickr.com/photos/guppiecat/427522291/> Accessed 5 April 2009.

Perhaps a more appropriate question would be where don’t coyotes live?
Coyotes can live in deserts, swamps, tundra, grasslands, brush, dense forests, and even in large cities such as L.A., New York, Phoenix and Denver.  They thrive in grassland habitats created by the removal of trees, where tall grasses provide an ample supply of the small rodents that make up the largest part of their diets.  The coyote has been seen as far south as Costa Rica and Panama and as far north as Alaska, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta.  The only areas that are avoided are the wet tropical regions in the southern part of its range.  Early explorers only encountered coyotes west of the Mississippi, but their habitats now reach all the way to New England.  Some researchers believe that coyotes have spread to fill the niches vacated with the extermination of wolves in areas of the United States and Canada.  Still others attribute their spread to pressure from humans and availability of food.

The misconception of the coyote den
Hansen, J.  “Puppies102”. (image). <http://www.flickr.com/photos/46903714@N00/579460742/>. Accessed 12 April 2009.Contrary to what many people think, coyotes do not dwell in dens very often.  True dens are actually only used by pregnant females to give birth in and for the pups to live in for a short period while they are very young.  The mother and other coyotes seldom enter the den unless to bring food to the pups.  Dens are dug by the mating pair in sandy hillsides or stream banks, or under rocky outcroppings or fallen logs where digging is easy and the entrance can be protected and is easy to watch.  Coyotes have also been known to move into an existing badger or fox den and enlarge it.  In urban areas coyotes use storm drains, dig under storage sheds, or dig holes in vacant lots, parks or even golf courses.

Dens are usually three to six feet below the surface and can extend up toZib, H.  “Coyote Den”. (image). <http://www.flickr.com/photos/heathzib/3335365465/>. Accessed 15 April 2009. twenty-six feet into the hillside.  The initial tunnel leads to a large chamber, which often has a second entrance that is much better hidden than the digging entrance.  Because of this second entrance and the wariness of adult coyotes, active dens are extremely hard to find.  A
nother tactic coyotes use to protect pups is moving them between multiple dens.  This not only helps them avoid detection by predators, but also because dens can accumulate fleas and other parasites that can be a serious danger to the young.  A coyote will fiercely defend an active den if it believes the pups are in danger.  There have even been reports of mother coyotes charging full-grown grizzlies whose paths came too close to a den.